Fall 1992, Volume 9.3
Elizabeth S. Bell
The Odyssey and the Argonautica: Charles and Anne Lindbergh's Voyages of Discovery
Elizabeth S. Bell (Ph.D., U of Louisville) is Professor of English at University of South Carolina, Aiken. She has recently published her second book, Kay Boyle: A Study of the Short Fiction. Her articles on composition and modern American literature have appeared in The Writing Instructor, Twentieth Century Literature, Modernist Studies, and Southern Literary Review. She was recently awarded the Carol J. Carlisle Memorial Research Award for her work on the autobiographies of early aviators.
Charles and Anne Lindbergh spent their life together engaged in exploring the earth, both its outer and its inner landscapes. Some of their exploration involved air journeys of months at a time covering landscape so remote it seemed bypassed by time. Together they explored Central America and the American Southwest in archeological surveys during the closing years of the 1920s and the early 1930s, and as representatives of Transcontinental Air Transport Corporation and Pan American Airways, they flew survey trips studying the feasibility of commercial air routes over previously unexplored territory. Anne recorded some of these voyages for us, for she provides with the poet's voice a clear picture of the aviator's world. By and large, Charles remained content to let her words stand, for aviation itself wrote his poetry. Other of their journeys covered much less finite territory, for they involved the exploration of destiny itself. Both Lindberghs wrote to us of their discoveries in these realms, for while they did not necessarily learn the same thingshis exploration bound them together and to our century.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, profoundly aware of this bond, has spent her adult life recording the encounters and the mutual discoveries involved in her exploration with Charles of the earth, the air, the variety of human cultures, and the connections among them. Encounters produce effects on all parties, and, as Anne Morrow Lindbergh reminds us, the modern world can learn much from the ancient. She possesses a writer's eye and ear, seeing and hearing in the simplest situation a profound exemplar of human life. Aviation gave her subject matter, for as she recorded in her early diaries, published in 1971 as Bring Me a Unicorn: "I want to write about the amazing variety and intensity of relationships with peoplethe many kinds, the subtle distinctions, the infiniteness, the richness, the excitement of them" (168). She recognized that aviation could open the door to human lives, human living, for her.
As was fitting for someone of her classical education and her familiarity with humanities and learning, the young Anne Morrow first realized the symbolism of aviation, especially as it related to the new national hero Charles Lindbergh whom she met through her father's position as Ambassador to Mexico. Acutely aware of the emerging importance of aviation, she saw Charles as the "symbol of the most beautiful, most stupendous achievement of our ageas typical and as beautiful an expression as the cathedral was of the Middle Agesor is it just personal magnetism: For everyone does feel immediately, I think, silenced and amazed at this man" (Bring Me a Unicorn 91). Of course, speaking in those first few month after his record flight across the Atlantic, she echoed the sentiments of an astounded nation, one ready for a hero who could charm the gods, themselves. The handsome, courageous, humble young mail pilot who challenged the Atlantic and won, captured the imagination of the multitude in the United States and abroad. His fame shouted from every major newspaper and magazine in the world. But to Anne Morrow, as time and life would prove, he became far more than a symbol. Their lifelong partnership literally spanned the globe, and metaphorically carried them on not just a voyage of discovery, but also an odyssey through the times and events of the twentieth century.
Both Lindberghs were acutely aware of their special place in history, poised at the fleeting moment of time when the world forever changed. Aviation, they believed and subsequent events have shown, recreated reality. Anne knew it virtually immediately, and in the preface to North to the Orient (1935) describes the telescoping of time and place aviation causes. Places once beyond reach because of distance and geography, now opened their doors to aviators. Lifestyles and cultures once mysterious or unknown, now revealed themselves to the world the aviator brings into contact. In the Aviation Age, time, place, distance no longer mean what they meant before the Wright brothers achieved the unthinkable. Such dramatic changes in the contextual fabric of our world can only be described as magic, she tells us, and only "now"in the first years of the 1930sbefore we begin to take the marvels for granted:
It was a magic caused by the collision of modern methods and old ones; modern history and ancient; accessibility and isolation. And it was a magic which could only strike spark about the time. A few years earlier, from the point of view of aircraft alone, it would have been impossible to reach these places; a few years later, and there will be no such isolation. . . . Yesterday's fairy tale is today's fact. The magician is only one step ahead of his audience. I must write down my story before it is too late. (North 10,13)
In part of her story, contained in her various books and articles detailing the exploration and survey trips she and Charles made during the 1930s, Anne Lindbergh focused on elements she felt significant. Aviator, navigator, radio operator, she spent each flight with human communication foremost in her mind. In fact, so involved was she with sending and receiving the radio signals that forged their only contact with the earth, she counts as one of her most thrilling moments over the Atlantic in 1933 an unplanned and incidental radio contact with New York, some 3,000 miles away. The sheer distance overwhelmed her, although realistically she knew the operator in New York made such contacts every day. Nonetheless, his nonchalance in no way detracted from her excitement, or changed the experience for her ("Flying" 307). This simple event illustrates, however, a trademark of Anne Lindbergh's writing: her understanding of the dual perspectives, indeed the multiple perspectives, inherent in the exploration she and Charles undertook.
Over and over in her books and articles, Anne Lindbergh deals with the way contact with two strange aviators affected the people they met, and in turn, how the people they met affected the two aviators themselves. Multi-faceted discovery inevitably accompanies exploration for Anne Lindbergh. By nature of their survey assignments, the Lindberghs visited the isolated outcroppings of human habitation, checking to see if aviation companies could feasibly refuel there or offer customer comforts or insure flight safety. Many, if not most, of the people they encountered had never seen an airplane; some in the northern stretches of Canada or Greenland and Iceland or along the interior rivers of South America or China rarely saw outsiders at all. She details their various reactions, such as the disappointment of a small child in Hebron, Labrador, who cried because the Lindberghs' tiny airplane arrived instead of the overdue supply ship on which the virtually starving settlement depended, once a year, for its delivery of food and other necessities. Anne reacted with compassion and offered the child such comfort as she could, the banana she had packed in the lunch kit from the airplane ("Flying" 269). Or in North to the Orient she remembers with genuine affection the Soviet zoologist and the trapper's wife who shared stories of their own and Anne's children. The three women gathered over photographs and found connections they did not expect. "When I left, my boy seemed nearer to me because they had seen his picture and talked of him. Perhaps the zoologist also felt closer to her boy, for she gave me a letter for him, to post in Tokyo. . . . (I don't feel out of place here, I thought . . . )" (North 140, emphasis added).
Many places they visited seemed dismal by all accessible standards, some by virtue of climate and isolation, others by virtue of natural disaster, a few by all three. During their survey flight of the Orient in 1939, the Lindberghs came unexpectedly on a flood of mammoth proportions; they responded to the situation by flying relief and mapping missions in the flooded Yangtze River Valley in China until their own plane capsized in the swollen river. Only from the air could one grasp the extent of the flood; only by the air could some of the devastated areas be recognized and located.
Anne recorded their experiences, not only in terms of what they did, but also in terms of what they felt; she saw also in this context a gigantic cosmic irony. During one of the medical missions Charles and two doctors flew to the region, starving people surrounded the pontoon plane with hundreds of sampans. They wanted food; the airplane brought only medical supplies. In their desperation the people began swarming the airplane, threatening by the sheer force of their numbers to damage or destroy it, trapping the flyers in the flood waters. By use of a gun, which they shot repeatedly in the air, Charles and his passengers moved the villagers far enough away to allow the plane to take off; they, the rescuers, escaped, but they had to leave their mission unsuccessful:
A moment before they had been down in the crowd of starving people, some of whom might live until spring; many would die before the waters receded. Now, headed for Nanking, safety, food, and shelter were as assured to the fliers as in their own homes. Separated from those desperate people below only by a few seconds in time, only by a few hundred feet in distance, they were yet irretrievably removed in some fourth dimension. The two worlds were separated by a gulf which, although not wide, was deep, perilous, and unbridgeable. At least it was unbridgeable to the owners of the sampans. The fliers had crossed over from one world to another as easily, as swiftly, as one crosses from the world of nightmare to the world of reality in the flash of waking. (North 220)
Acutely aware of the divergent destinies of the people of whom she writes, Anne must face a reality bought by science and technology in their most elemental forms: "The pull of a trigger, the press of a switch_without these, the three magicians flying back to Nanking would have been simply three people in a starving, dying, and devastated land" (221).
One more irony rests in her narrative of this experience, this irony born of nature instead of technology. The flooded area also held what most people recognized as the most beautiful pagoda in China. Flying over it, an island surrounded by water, Anne finds rare beauty:
Centered like that, a gem in its frame, it gave one also an indescribable feeling of finality and peace, as though one had reached the end of the journey or come to the heart of some mystery. Its setting, also, intensified the impression of aloneness. Ringed by silence, the pagoda was. And the things that are alone and ringed by silence must be beautiful. (223-224)
In the midst of death, ancient beauty; in the midst of disaster, peace: Anne Lindbergh's careful and understanding juxtaposition makes more meaning than a more extensive analysis could provide. Stylistically, she records this event with the spare skilled strokes of the Oriental artist, from starkness to beauty.
By the time she wrote her next book, Anne Lindbergh's growing insight and subtlety as a writer allowed her to create an adventure story within an adventure story. In Listen! The Wind (1938) she expands on the events closing her 1934 article for National Geographic detailing the southern portion of their survey flight around the North Atlantic, and provides a remarkable exploration of the multiple perspectives she always recognized. Ostensibly the account of their flight from the African coast to South America, the book focuses on Anne's journey as aviator and person through the myriad emotions surrounding that flight. Dependent on the wind to lift their airplane, but held prisoner in the Cape Verde Islands and later the coast of Africa by a constant, too strong uncooperative version of the wind, facing the prospect of six months or more before take off will be possible, she recreates with probing intensity the growing sense of frustration, hope, disappointment, despair, relief, and joy that lead to their escape backtracking to a destination farther away from their goal, to be sure, but one more likely to allow them to continue forward. At the same time, she contrasts her own emotions that internal turmoil belonging to one whose plans have been delayed with the patient despair and courtesy of their inadvertent hosts, such as the "Chef" in charge of his young quiet wife at Porto Praia, for whom time and alternatives seem nonexistent. "We were separated by something else, of our own choosing, something I felt only dimly conscious of, yet I knew was there some test of endurance, some ordeal by fire" (Listen 76).
Even the airplane's departure sparked more soul-searching for her, for she realized that now the time has begun moving in her world again. Her time and theirs forever diverged; effectively they remained frozen in her mind, belonging to a particular moment, forever unchanged. "They were now part of the past andlooking down on them was looking down at life from the altitude of death. . . . They would cease to be important to me, I realized. . . . I did not want to_but I would forget them. . . . Our plane, our eyes, and, now, our minds, also would turn in another direction . . . " (118). Typically, however, she hesitated to break that human contact that existed between them, and as her first act after the plane's take off, she established radio contact with her former hosts.
Anne Lindbergh, even in these early writings, explored the shifting reality aviation opened to her. Her journeys forced her to see with new eyes a world she had thought familiar. Charles, too, felt aviation redefined reality. Old standards, such as time and distance, melted out of their familiar forms into something quite new. His 1928 article for National Geographic describing his post-Paris friendship flight to Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and home to St. Louis contains fragments of his observations, expressed as always in his early writings through the technical, accurate, detailed language of the aviator. Unlike Anne, whom he met for the first time on this trip, he missed the magic, preferring the physical world's explanations for what he can only describe as an interesting oddity:
One of the odd things about this flight was the length of night. On my flight to France I had only about five dark hours because I flew from west to east against the sun and north of 50 north latitude, but on this flight the direction was slightly west and in southern latitudes where the nights are long; so I had thirteen hours and thirty minutes of darkness. ("To Bogota and Back" 530)
He took playing with the master timekeeper, the sun, casually in stride. But he, too, found time and distance inseparable, musing on numerous occasions in the article that land trips through the mountains and jungles beneath him would be impossibly long and difficult, while he could accomplish them by air in a matter of hours. He foresaw one of the meanings of aviation to be the end of the isolation land topography and vegetation had fostered in these remote parts of the world.
However, Charles Lindbergh almost succumbed to the spell of magic when he abandoned the airplane, and thereby his direct tie with the world of science: "We flew all over Mexico City. I thought of the days when Cortez fought his way into this city; but it no longer resembles the home of the Aztecs" (535-6). But later on a boat trip through the floating gardens in Xochimilco, he compared "moving through the narrow canals among these islands" to "a trip though a primitive Venice," and feeling the spirit of time and place, he admitted, "But as we poled along, it was like moving into another world of hundreds of years ago" (536-7). The evidence of the text of this article suggests rather strongly that the significance of this juxtaposition of ideas escaped the young Charles.
Nevertheless, both conceptions of time captivated him. Indeed, throughout his life, he sought resolution to the tension he felt existed between the telescoping of time and distance science and technology could create and the long corridors of the past that led to a more ancient human existence than the imagination can grasp. He wanted, profoundly and deeply, to find connection among all dimensions of time. In his younger years, he was content to look to science, particularly as expressed in aviation, for his answers.
Charles had not always felt this sense of purpose. Aviation as technology first attracted his sense of adventure. He began life with a fondness for travel, born perhaps of his childhood spent in constant moving (WE 22). As a youngster never much interested in education or learning, he found an immediate attraction to flying, so much so in fact that it encouraged him as nothing else ever had to study hard and to excel in school_Army flight school (Autobiography 9-10). His love for aviation led him to an early career of barnstorming and, later, piloting for the fledgling airmail industry. Indeed, as he mentioned in several pieces of writing, that first flight across the Atlantic was born on a long uneventful night flight, as he impersonally delivered the mail across rural landscape. In retrospect he admits, "But without my love of flying and adventure, and motives I cannot even now discern clearly, it was a flight I would never have attempted" ("Letter" 60A). From the very beginning, however, he seemed at home in the sky, alone, carrying out the mundane business of society. This opportunity for solitude suited Charles and perhaps explains part of the appeal aviation held for him. Yet ironically, that dream of crossing the Atlantic, being the first solo pilot to do so, showing the world aviation could be practical and safe, changed his life forever.
Charles Lindbergh, himself, many times tells us words fail him on occasion, especially in 1927 when his celebrity caught him by surprise: "I am not an author by profession, and my pen could never express the gratitude which I feel towards the American people" (WE 230). Of the celebration his victorious flight unleashed, he could say merely, "The voyage up the Potomac and to the Monument Grounds in Washington; up the Hudson River and along Broadway; over the Mississippi and to St. Louis_to do justice to these occasions would require a far greater writer than myself" (230). Not surprisingly, he left that last part of his first book for someone else to write: "I have asked Fitzhugh Green to write a brief account of my various receptions not only because I think he has caught the spirit of what I have tried to do for aviation, but because I trust his judgment in selection of material" (232). The modesty belonged genuinely to Charles Lindbergh; it was part of his appeal to the public. He wanted only to go about his business as an aviator, already interested in showing the world that aviationthat perfect blend of modern science and technology could work miracles not previously thought possible.
Miracles, however, require miracle workers, and a naive unsuspecting Charles Lindbergh found himself cast inevitably in the role of demigod, thrust into overwhelming public attention, and he also found the dark side of public acclaim. In two articles for the Saturday Evening Post , Harry A. Bruno and William S. Dutton, public relations men hired to protect Lindbergh, detailed the problems his publicity and fame caused for the young aviator. Demands on his time, outrages to his sense of privacy, fabrications of his views, appearance of previously unknown relatives all combined to turn his ordinary life into a forgotten and unobtainable past. Anne and Charles even had to devise elaborate tricks to insure their wedding could be private, not a media circus. As fate would have it, they never found the privacy to which they aspired. The joys, tragedies, and controversies of their personal lives played out on the pages and screens of the worldwide press. In her "Introduction" to her diaries and letters published in 1980 as War Within and War Without, Anne found in retrospect the proportions that describe the public element of their lives: "Life in the air was beautiful, limitless, and freeif often hazardousbut life on the ground married to a public hero was a full-cry race between hunter and hunted. We were the quarry. We were unable to lead our private lives without being hounded on most occasions by reporters, photographers, and celebrity seekers" (xv). This reality, too, may explain part of the appeal aviation held for Charles, first as a solo pilot and later in his personal/professional partnership with Anne. In the air, he could escape the demand of his public life; Anne even told in several pieces of writing of the relief it could be to tell the reporter on the ground, stationed by the wireless, that interviews during flight were quite impossible; both pilot and radio operator were much too busy.
Nevertheless, Charles knew well he had a serious purpose:
. . . I became convinced that man had a great destiny in the airthat planes would some day cross continents and oceans with their cargoes of people, mail, and freight. I believed that America should lead the world in the development of flight. I devoted my life to planes and engines, to surveying airlines, to preaching, wherever men would listen, the limitless future of the sky. (Of Flight and Life v)
He saw a multitude of uses for aviation; he demonstrated many of them.
For example, in the late 1920s, after his marriage to Anne but before his commercial surveys, he and Anne embarked on a series of archeological flights in Central America and the southwestern United States. Literary Digest reports on one of those tours, quoting extensively from an article by archeologist Edward Moffat Weyer, Jr., in World's Work. Weyer discussed the Lindberghs and their enthusiasm for the task at hand. Charles "kept track of courses, wind-drift, and estimated distances to and between objects sighted, " while Anne "whose eyes are very keen, watched the bush like a hawk and took the photographs" (qtd. in "Spotting Ancient Relics" 35). Aside from these specific contributions to the cause of archeology, the Lindberghs accomplished something more lasting. The flight was planned and carried out as a test, a reconnaissance, to gauge the value of the airplane for survey and observation. We proved to our satisfaction that it is of unique usefulness in enabling scientists to study such a country as a whole, to record its geographical features, to note the nature, distribution, and extent of its forest types, and to plan routes and fix landmarks for ground exploration. (35)
As Weyer continues, he points out that the airplane's usefulness in this capacity had been Charles Lindbergh's idea, born of that friendship flight over the jungles of South and Central America. With the success of these tours, Charles and Anne Lindbergh helped revolutionize the discipline of archeology, as well as the enterprise of aviation.
However, in order to understand the man, we must wait to hear from an older, more disillusioned Charles on the eve of World War II: "Mountains, coastlines, great distances, ground fortifications, all those safeguards of past generations, lose their old significance as man takes to his wings" ("Aviation" 65). If magic he perceived in this shifting reality, it was surely a darker, more sinister magic than Anne's vision, a magic, in fact, that could unleash fire and brimstone. Anguished at the destruction of civilization his beloved aviation facilitated during the war, he cried to heaven: "How blind we werehow time and space misled our eyes! Here I watch a steel door lift and and airplane roll outside; while, in reality, the walls of a cathedral fell and children died" (Of Flight 10). The intensity of Charles's distress led him into the most controversial period of his life, and however we might wish to ignore it, we must explore the roots of that controversy.
Much of the conflicting perceptions surrounding Charles Lindbergh in the late 1930s resulted from his efforts to dissuade the United States from entering the war with Germany. His objections took two major directions. First, he argued, with some valid evidence, that the United States was not prepared for war, and that Germany possessed superior air power. His knowledge of Germany's air power, and indeed that of the other European countries, grew from trips he undertook at the request of the United States government; later, that request fell out of public awareness as political foes attached such labels as "traitor" to him. Nevertheless, Charles Lindbergh continued to believe and to say armed conflict against such a heavily armed adversary could only end in debilitating defeat, albeit at great cost to the victor. In this argument Charles Lindbergh merely stated what some government advisors and military experts already feared. While this stance slapped the face of patriotic rhetoric, in itself it raised no particularly virulent controversy, for the nation already faced widespread disapproval of entering in the European war. In fact, as late as the summer of 1941, Congress passed by a margin of only one vote the act which reinstated the military draft.
Charles Lingbergh's second objection to war with Germany proved more disquieting, however. He believed strongly that the cultural heritage, and thus the superiority, of the United States sprang from Europe and, thus, the white race. He felt as well the encroachment of the "inferior races" that could, after the mutual military defeat of European powers, overrun Civilization. His solution seemed obvious to him: European strongholds of civilization could not afford to quarrel among themselves, he argued, but must unite to form a "Western Wall of race and arms which can hold back either a Genghis Khan, or the infiltration of inferior blood; . . . an English fleet, a German air force, a French army, an American nation, standing together as guardians of our common heritage, sharing strength, dividing influence" ("Aviation" 66). Again, he was only stating what was implied in the United States's Jim Crow laws and immigration quotas, but in so doing, he produced in our ears an uncomfortable echo of Hitler's vituperative message. Clearly, the United States did not want to recognize its own inherent, institutionalized racism, for such an admission on our parts would undercut the moral outrage we projected toward Hitler and his barbaric Nazism; thus, Charles Lindbergh fell from grace. To be fair, he did not espouse violence against what he defined as inferior races, but he supported a rigid form of isolationism, an isolationism that had at its base a plea for racial and cultural purity. His racism, for we must read it as such today, grew not from hatred but from an overwhelming and unrelieved ethnocentrism.
In speaking of those prewar years, Anne Lindbergh some forty years later would say, "Although I disagreed often with the emphasis he made in his speeches, I believed completely in his integrity" (War xxi). She points out also that Charles spoke in the moment, that he had not the analytic advantage hindsight can give to weigh the circumstances surrounding the encroaching war. Others writing about this time in Charles Lindbergh's life, including historian Wayne S. Cole, agree that whatever his views, they represented his sincere belief, stated clearly and oblivious of their political impact. Even his detractors, as Cole points out, never questioned his sincerity. He spoke as one convinced that American interests would be better served if our nation stayed out of European war.
Pearl Harbor, however, changed everything. Once President Roosevelt declared war, Charles Lindbergh worked valiantly to preserve the security of the country. He tested new bombers and advised aviation companies on plane design, he trained pilots in the Pacific theater in ways to save fuel and thus expand their flight range, he toured the bombed out cities of Europe, and he explored the remains of Hiroshima. He learned on his postwar tour of Europe that, "We won the war in a military sense; but in a broader sense it seems to me we lost it, for our Western civilization is less respected and secure than it was before" (The Wartime Journals xv). But he also learned a more profoundly distressing truth; in the Nazi slave labor camps, in the American and Japanese treatment of each other in the jungles of the Pacific, in the American faces contorted by hatred of Japanese and Germans, in their faces contorted by hatred and defeat, he learned that "What is barbaric on one side of the earth is still barbaric on the other. . . . It is not the Germans alone, or the Japs, but men of all nations to whom this war has brought shame and degradation" (998). His beloved Western culture contributed as much to this brutality as the culture of the East.
From his experiences, steeped in both the massive destruction of war and the tools which wreaked it, he developed another conflicting realization: In order to preserve ourselves from destruction, we must remain strong enough to destroy our enemies; in so doing we must face the knowledge that inevitably we will destroy ourselves. He lost faith in the science that once had seemed so beneficent to him:
We are in the grip of a scientific materialism caught in a vicious cycle where our security today seems to depend on regimentation and weapons which will ruin us tomorrow. I believe the values we are creating and the standards we are now following will lead to the end of our civilization, and that if we do not control our science by a higher moral force, it will destroy us with its materialistic values, its rocket aircraft, and its atom bombsas it has already destroyed large parts of Europe. (Of Flight vi-vii)
Some twenty years later he would add, "I have been forced to the conclusion that an over-emphasis on science weakens human character and upsets life's essential balance. Science breeds technology. Technology leads to infinite complication" ("Wisdom" 9). One can only speculate on the soul-wrenching that lead Charles Lindbergh, so much a part of the scientific and technological marvels of the Aviation Age, to this judgment. The personal costs must have been tremendous.
Ironically, Charles Lindbergh turned for salvation to two sources, both of which denied the supremacy of the Western heritage to which he had been so wedded before the war: the primitive world of wilderness and the ancient wisdom of the East. Science betrayed him and left the world in perilous condition, but Charles Lindbergh knew we could never turn back the clock on science; what science had uncovered could never again be ignored. That being the case, Charles concluded, "There is in wildness a natural wisdom that shapes all earth's experiments with life. . . . The human future depends on our ability to combine the knowledge of science with the wisdom of wildness" ("Wisdom" 8, 10). He devoted much of his life during his last decades to environmental concerns, for he felt the future of humankind depends on the continuance of the wisdom found only in the life stream of nature.
Fittingly, in one of the last pieces of writing he was to complete, Charles Lindbergh merges the three sources of his inspiration, for he concludes that science does not preclude mysticism; the unknown, he tells us, whether in internal or external forms, it both vast and marvelous (Autobiography 402). And of himself, of humankind of whom he is a representative, of our place in all of this: "I am all of my imaginings, my hopes, and memories, my dreams, real and unrealized. In how many ways will I continue to exist? In my children, in my life stream, in memories, on printed pages, in my impact on the environment" (401). Charles Lindbergh's journey took a lifetime, an odyssey that brought him to a place he could call home.
And what of Anne Lindbergh? Where has her journey taken her? She has traveled on beyond Charles in time, who died in 1974, and from the perspective those extra years provide, she speaks of the connection between all facets of our world: "Today, even extremes are interrelated. Perhaps they always were, but we are now more aware of the interrelatedness and the interdependence. Statesmen and businessmen, scientists and saints, poets and writers all tell us that the world is one" (Earth Shine vii). Yet, she tells us more, for she finds value in that rare opportunity to view in retrospect the thoughts and words of earlier years. In the twentieth anniversary edition of Gift from the Sea, reprinted in 1975, she "re-opens" her assessment of the world and the truths she had found. She finds reason for hope, and she finds it where she has always lookedin the mutual need for connection among people, the earth, the sky, and life itself:
Perhaps the greatest progress, humanly speaking in these past twenty years, for both men and women, is in the growth of consciousness. . . . A new consciousness of the dignity and right of an individual, regardless of race, creed, class, or sex. A new consciousness and questioning of the materialistic values of the Western world. A new consciousness of our place in the universe, and a new awareness of the inter-relatedness of all life on our planet. (Gift 136)
Surely, more than any other two people, the Lindberghs explored the extremities and isolated corners of the twentieth century. They recognized no distance, no barrier, no danger that courage and integrity combined with knowledge and a growing wisdom could not defeat. And they have given us their maps, the literal ones Charles drew for Anne's travel books, as well as the more difficult and costly metaphorical ones they both forged from their own experiences. Their words, their lives, their gifts comprise their "argonautica," left as reminders to us of that long, difficult, sometimes painful, sometimes joyful, always valuable adventure of living fully and responsibly in our world.
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